Last night’s story for the almost 4yo was about a crocodile named Hungry Pete who would eat anything in the river. A refrigerator floated down with a delicious, rotten treat inside of it. Hungry Pete wanted to eat, eat, eat. He hit the fridge with his tail. No luck. He pushed a fallen tree onto it. No luck. He guided it toward a waterfall where it burst open. Hungry Pete rushed to the fridge and started eating the rotten food inside, but then the fridge clamped it’s doors shut on the crocodile. It sprouted arms and legs. It ate Hungry Pete right up. Then it got out of the river and walked away. The 4yo approved of the story and went to bed.
Yesterday, I thought, “fifty-one weeks ago, my mom was alive.” It was such a sad thought. This reminder, this new mark on which I measure the world. How long since Mom died. Or, how much older or younger than when Mom died, when I see the deaths of people in the news. Like, oh, Tom Petty died ten years earlier than Mom. Or, that Oliver Sacks got six years more than Mom. What would Mom have seen if she’d lived six more years? She’d see both her granddaughters walk. S— at nine-years-old, and N— at six-and-a-half-years-old. Mom would’ve seen them both move from infants to toddlers to kids. She could have had conversations with them and they with her. Instead, S— has a sprinkling of memories of Mom. She has questions about death. Meanwhile N— has no memories of her Grandma. N— will have a few not great pictures of my mom holding her.
The metaphor I’ve settled on lately is phantom limbs. There is a ghostly aspect where I know my mom is gone, yet it feels like she isn’t or shouldn’t be, like I should be able to pick up the phone and call and Mom will answer in Michigan. She’ll listen to me. Offer words of advice. Her voice a connection that grounds me.
Sayaka Murata‘s Convenience Store Woman is a novella with such minimal plotting it almost reads like a character-study. The narrator is a thirty-five-year-old, single woman who works part-time at a convenience store in Japan. Keiko Furukura does not fit into Japanese society and may have trouble existing in other cultures as she has trouble deciphering mores.…
S— patted N—’s belly while we all laid in bed and called it a “cute little bundle belly.” N giggled and kicked her legs around, then turned and kissed S— with a big “muh” noise. ∞
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee is a novel of beauty and perseverance, which shows an unflinching view of Japan’s treatment of Koreans, both during the occupation of Korea and after World War II. The novel follows one family through four generations, starting in 1910 and finishing in 1989. If you could go back in time…
Yesterday, I heard the 3yo run out of the bathroom shouting, “There’s a crocodile in there!” ∞
More drawing in Photoshop.
When I was a child, I identified with Luke Skywalker like thousands of other children. Unlike many of those kids, it wasn’t just because Luke was the brave, young hero. I sought out meaning from Luke Skywalker, because to my mind, both our fathers were evil. His father of course was Darth Vader, enemy to the Rebel Alliance and master of the Dark Side of the Force. My father was Joseph Lepczyk, a man who killed himself when I was six-years-old. Joe financially and emotionally scarred our family to the point where we never really recovered.
The smell of vinegar and hot water, a reminder of my mom and weekends cleaning before play. ∞